A properly fitted gum guard must be protective, comfortable, resilient, tear resistant, odorless, tasteless, not bulky, cause minimal interference to speak and breathing, and (possibly the most important criterion) have excellent retention, fit, and sufficient thickness in critical areas.
Dental injuries are the most common type or orofacial injury sustained during participation in sports. Teeth that are knocked out and not properly preserved or replanted may cost many thousands, hours in the dentist’s chair and the possible development of other dental problems such as periodontal disease in a lifetime.
A mouth guard (mouth protector) is a flexible custom fitted device worn over teeth during athletic and recreational activities to protect them from damage. A good-fitting mouth guard may be especially important if you wear braces, have fixed anterior bridgework or just want to protect your teeth/smile from potential trauma.
Mouth guards can buffer damage to the teeth, the brackets and/or other fixed appliances from blows and physical contact. Mouth guards can also act as a barrier between teeth/braces and the cheeks, between the lips and tongue, thereby limiting the risk of soft tissue damage.
The ideal mouth guard also:
- Allows speaking and does not limit breathing.
- Stays firmly in place during action.
- Provides a high degree of comfort and fit.
- Is durable and easy to clean.
- Is resilient, tear-resistant, odorless and tasteless.
Generally, a mouth guard only covers the upper teeth. However, dentists may suggest that athletes with a protruding jaw or those who wear braces or other dental appliances (such as retainers, bridgework or have implant-supported dentures) on their lower jaw wear a mouth guard on their lower teeth.